Please say this isn’t so or even a real possibility. In a new Huffington Post article there’s reason to fear that one of Miami’s treasures and most photographed homes could become just another retailor. The following was reported in the Huffington Post:
The new owners of the slain fashion designer’s former estate are discussing the possibility of turning the iconic Ocean Drive home into a retail space, possibly including an Apple store or a Victoria’s Secret, according to The Real Deal.
Last week, an investment arm of the Nakash family of Jordache Jeans placed the winning bid of $41.5 million in a cut throat bankruptcy auction. Representatives had originally said they hoped to use Versace’s name and legacy in rebranding the property as a luxury boutique hotel.
But Jon Bennett, the director of real estate for the family’s holdings, has said that converting part of the property into a luxury retail space is an attractive idea.
“I think this could be an incredible retail flag location,” he told TRD.
Bennett suggested to CBS Miami that Apple might be a good fit because the company has “been really creative in terms of the stores that they’ve been able to construct. I can imagine them doing something really creative there. You know, somehow blending the new with the old.”
But Curbed Miami swiftly opined such a plan would be “a massive slap in the face to the history and culture of South Florida,” and passing residents didn’t seem too keen on the proposal, either.
Before Gianni Versace renovated the property, known as Casa Casuarina, the 1930 Mediterranean Revival home served as an apartment complex for artists known as The Amsterdam Palace.
Thanks to its location in the historical Miami Beach Architectural District, the three-story villa is legally protected from demolition or serious alteration of its exterior, according to Curbed.
However, the same cannot be said for the interior, meaning that all of the detailed touches Versace added, including the 24-karat mosaic pool, ceiling frescoes, and a suite built for Madonna, among other opulent features, are not legally protected by historic preservation codes.
Turning the home into a retail space would grant the public access to the gated home that was at one time a private invitation-only membership club with fees of $50,000.
Bennett said no decision has been made.
“It’s very important to us to take the community and the unique nature of the property into account as we decide what we think what will be the best use for it,” he told CBS.